While swimming is a popular pastime for many Americans, a history of discrimination at pools nationwide in the 20th century has led to startling racial disparities in swimming abilities. A 2017 USA Swimming Foundation report found more than 6 in 10 African American children have low to no swimming skills.
And that has deadly consequences: Black and Latino children are statistically much more likely to drown than their white peers.
This hour, we hear from a historian about how we got to this point.
And we ask: with swimming lessons canceled because of COVID-19 and no lifeguards at beaches, are kids at greater risk of drowning this summer during the pandemic?
- Jeff Wiltse - Professor of History at University of Montana and author of Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America
- Harold Sparrow - President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Hartford
- Kevin Borrup - Interim director of the Injury Prevention Center at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, also a member of the Commission on Women, Children & Seniors’ Water Safety Awareness Task Force
Cat Pastor contributed to this show.